It was a November to remember for the Seattle Kraken.
December has started off well, too.
The Kraken will play host to the Florida Panthers on Saturday night riding a franchise-record seven-game winning streak.
“We’ve been doing a good job of finding ways to win and staying with it and a lot of momentum swings and games and we’re doing a pretty good job of managing that,” Kraken forward Jaden Schwartz said after Thursday’s 3-2 overtime victory against visiting Washington. “Whether it’s special teams power play getting a big goal, or the penalty kill stepping up and it’s a big save by (Philipp Grubauer). Everyone’s chipping in and playing together and we’re getting results.”
Yanni Gourde scored the tying goal with 2:27 remaining in regulation and Matty Beniers won it on a breakaway seven seconds into overtime. It was the fastest regular-season OT goal by a rookie in NHL history, besting the eight seconds it took Walter Jackson to score for the New York Americans in 1933.
Beniers, who has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) over a six-game point streak, won the opening faceoff in overtime to teammate Andre Burakovsky, who split two defenders at the blue line, both of whom fell to the ice. Beniers skated past and put a shot between the pads of Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
“That’s two guys making a play,” said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol, whose team is 12-1-1 over its past 14 games to pull within two points of Pacific Division-leading Vegas with two games in hand. “That’s having a plan on the faceoff again. I don’t care what zone it’s in, what time of the game, obviously, they had something in mind, and they went out and they executed. They went to battle and then finished it off.”
The Panthers are coming off a 5-1 victory Thursday at Vancouver as Matthew Tkachuk, Gustav Forsling and Ryan Lomberg set a franchise record by each scoring in a 59-second span late in the first period.
Sam Bennett tallied twice, Tkachuk added two assists and Spencer Knight made 32 saves for the Panthers, who ended a three-game losing streak with their second victory in the past eight games (2-3-3).
“It was great,” Lomberg said. “We needed this one, so I thought besides the goals we did a lot of good things for the majority of that game.”
Tkachuk, acquired in an offseason trade with Calgary, has 11 multipoint games in his first 22 games with the Panthers. He has fit in seamlessly with Bennett, who was a Flames teammate for 4 1/2 seasons.
“They play off each other,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “I think Sam’s got so much quickness in straight lines, he pulls people off, and Matthew can just wait a puck out. He can hold on to a puck and find a hole. They’ve been really good together and that’s why we kept them together.”
The Panthers are 1-1-1 on a five-game trip that concludes Tuesday in Winnipeg.
–Field Level Media